Liam Baker's versatility has been a valuable resource for the Tigers this season - Photo: Richmond FC

Liam Baker's ability to create an impact at both ends of the ground has been crucial to Richmond's success, according to coach Damien Hardwick.

Liam Baker is the type of player Richmond’s Damien Hardwick loves coaching, because he can do it all.

Having already shown his wares at both ends of the ground in his early years at Tigerland, Baker added the string as a dependable member of the midfield rotation to his bow in 2021, taking his game to new heights and finishing equal second in the Jack Dyer Medal.

Baker has played all 10 games to start season 2022 and has been one of Richmond’s most consistent contributors, averaging 17.6 disposals and 2.9 tackles per game.

After starting the season in the forward half, the past two weeks has seen Baker thrown back into defence, the same role that saw him play a key part of premiership teams in 2019 and 2020. The 24 year old has excelled in the intercepting and rebounding role, partnering back up with Jayden Short, Nick Vlaustin and Daniel Rioli to get Richmond’s running game going. 

The move back to defence has beeen a sensible one. Over the past two weeks, Baker has led the Tigers for intercepts, gathering 14 against Hawthorn and another nine last night against Essendon.

Post game, Hardwick praised his young charge, who was one of the best on ground in Richmond’s 32 point win over Essendon in Dreamtime at the G.

“The last 2 weeks, he’s been fantastic,” Hardwick said.

“His ability to win the ball and then start our offence has been very important.

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Making his debut off the rookie list in 2018, the product from Pingaring has become one of the most valuable players in the Tigers’ star-studded line-up.

Hardwick went on to say that Baker’s output is extremely valuable at both ends of the ground and that he is the kind of player that typifies the Richmond style of play.

“When he was up forward, he was very valuable as well,” he added.

“So guys like Liam Baker probably epitomise what our club’s about. He’s very valuable, can play multiple positions and just plays the game the Richmond way, which we love.”

Baker amassed 30 possesions last night to finish second behind Dion Prestia in the voting for the Yiooken award for best on ground, polling eight votes.

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